The redevelopment of Mumbai’s iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station, which has been long overdue, will go through fresh tendering as the earlier round has been shelved due to internal restructuring in the Indian Railways. The Unesco World Heritage site was supposed to undergo redevelopment last year. But it has now been sent back to the drawing board following the shutdown of the nodal agency Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC).
Adani Railways, Oberoi Realty, and GMR Highways were among the nine bidders in the now discarded race for the marquee station project. According to railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the station will be developed under the hybrid built-operate-transfer (BOT) mode.
“The project is currently in the techno-economic feasibility report stage, since all projects under IRSDC were sent back to the drawing board. Once detailed project reports are made after that, they will be internally approved and presented to a heritage committee, after which a fresh request for qualification (RFQ) will be raised,” a senior railways ministry official said.
Once all these processes are complete, the redevelopment project will reach the stage where it had been left off last year, the official indicated.
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The project was overseen by Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC), a joint venture between Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) and IRCON, two entities owned by the ministry of railways. In October last year, IRSDC was abruptly shut down and all its projects were handed to RLDA and zonal railways.
Not only were these 60 odd projects redistributed, progress on many of these tenders was also discarded and the process had to begin from scratch. Almost 10 months later, there is little headway in its flagship development projects such as CSMT, where IRSDC was about to finalise the awardee following a request for proposal (RFP).
The timely redevelopment of Tier-1 stations such as CSMT is important not just for the passengers and businesses, but for the finances of railways too as these form a sizeable portion of its asset monetisation pipeline for the fiscal year.
The railways ministry plans to deploy significant resources this fiscal for the development of stations — both under the ongoing Adarsh station scheme and a new project for upgradation of major stations which involves a near-complete overhaul in services and passenger amenities.
In April, the railways had also conducted stakeholder meetings for its other flagship station redevelopment project — New Delhi railway station, which it also intends to award under BOT mode. There are, however, internal discussions of building some of these Tier-1 stations through engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) mode and engaging the private sector through real estate investment trusts (REITs) post completion.
The ministry has so far spent Rs 2,700 crore on station redevelopment this fiscal, minister Vaishnaw informed Parliament on Wednesday.